Georgian officials, opposition leaders, and ordinary citizens commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Fall of Sokhumi on September 27, which marked the end of armed conflict in Abkhazia in 1993.
“I believe that the future belongs to the unity, peace and prosperity of Abkhazians and Georgians,” said Prime Minister Garibashvili.
September 27 is associated in Georgia with the loss of control over Abkhazia and the ethnic cleansing of Georgians that occurred in that region. Reportedly, more than 12,000 people died during the armed conflict, while around 300,000 were displaced.
At an event dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the start of operations of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia following the August 2008 war in Georgia’s second occupied region, “South Ossetia,” the Prime Minister stated that his government has successfully maintained peace and stability, a foundation for economic progress.
“We are ready to improve the quality of life for all citizens of Georgia, including those in the occupied territories.
“The invasion of Russia in 2008 had severe consequences for our people. The unstable situation due to Russian aggression and the war in Ukraine reminds us of the need for peace and conflict resolution in Eastern Europe, including of the Russia-Georgia conflict. The involvement of the EU Monitoring Mission in this process is crucial, and we hope that sooner or later we will be able to achieve this goal. Let this 15th anniversary be a testament to what we have achieved together, and a reminder of the ongoing commitment we share to the peace, reconciliation and prosperity of all citizens of Georgia. We all look forward to the day when peace will prevail,” the PM said.
Further, during his speech at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, the PM said that Russia “still occupies 20 percent of the territory of Georgia”. He then addressed the Abkhazians and Ossetians with the following words: “The enemy of our unity is our common enemy.”
Former “leader” of occupied Tskhinvali [South Ossetia], Eduard Kokoity, responded to Garibashvili’s statement, saying he either “has a problem with perception of reality, or lives in his own imaginary world”.
“Garibashvili simply does not understand that Ossetians, Abkhazians and Russians have their own big family, where they are guided by traditional values, where they respect and love each other,” Kokoity wrote on Telegram.
Mikheil Saakashvili also weighed in on the conversation, criticizing the increasingly popular use of the term “Georgian-Abkhazian conflict.”
“Many are using the term Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, which is a lie and Russian propaganda – it’s time to label everything as it is: Russia was the initiator of it all. Georgians, Abkhazians and Ossetians were building a united Georgia. Abkhazia is Georgia! Sokhumi will become the most beautiful and safest city on the Black Sea coast.”